Whether you are taking a quick afternoon hike or planning a two-week hiking excursion, choosing the right food and drinks can help you feel amazing and ready to tackle any trail. The best hiking snacks will serve as fuel that gets you started, keeps you going, and helps you recover after a strenuous hiking adventure.
When planning food and beverages for long hikes, look for lightweight, filling, and nutritious snacks and hydrating, energy-boosting drinks to power you through even the most challenging hikes.
Planning your next hiking trip? Keep reading to learn what you should eat and drink to keep you energized.
It goes without saying that not all calories are created equal. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the primary fuel for your muscles comes from carbs. So, to avoid feeling sluggish during your hike, it’s important to select digestible carbohydrates to eat before exercise, so you don’t feel sluggish. Hiking can sometimes suppress your appetite, so plan to feed yourself before going, as calories play a major role in regulating your body temperature.
If you’ve spent any time hiking, you are likely familiar with that one member of the group who decided to forgo breakfast and now looks at snack bar crumbs in desperation.
“Are you going to finish that power bar? Got any extra trail mix?”
Yeah, don’t be that person.
What To Eat Before a Day of Hiking
As mentioned above, carbs are key. For a quick morning hike, fuel your body with a light, tasty breakfast with nourishers like eggs, oatmeal, or whole-grain non-sugary cereal. Other pre-day hike food ideas include low-fat yogurt, whole grain pasta, fresh fruit, and veggies, as well as whole-wheat toast and whole-grain pasta.
What To Eat During The Hike
If you’re anything like us, you love snacks, and when you’re hiking, snacks are of the utmost importance, especially if you start to take on longer day hikes or multiple-day hikes. Try to snack at least once every hour or two in addition to your full meals. For longer, more intense hikes, such as backpacking through the Grand Canyon National Park or hiking the Alps, eat double your typical intake of carbs.
Here are some amazing -- and tasty -- nutrient-dense day hike snack ideas:
Nuts and seeds
Fresh or dried fruit
If you happen to enjoy snacking on fruit, consider picking durable fruit options, like a hardy apple instead of the banana that just may end up squished in your pack. For dried fruit, be aware that your stomach re-hydrates the fruit in order to digest it, so if you don’t replenish your body with enough fluids, chances are the dried fruit will end up dehydrating you, causing you to feel light-headed, which is not exactly how you want to feel when hiking.
When selecting dried fruit and granola bars, look for options that don’t have any added sugars. High sugar levels can work against you, sparking a quick burst of energy followed by an epic crash. For a hike that has a great view at the end, consider packing a delicious picnic lunch -- just make sure you have an ice pack or another cold source to prevent any nasty food-borne illnesses.
What To Eat After Your Hike
When deciding on your post-hike meal, look for options with complex sugars and protein. It could be a quick power bar in the car, a packed meal left in the cooler, or a meal at your favorite local diner on the drive home. No matter the source, it’s a good idea to refuel within one hour of your hike to avoid feeling sluggish.
What About Hydration?
Before your hiking adventure, try to drink around 20-32 ounces of water. Do not start on the trail if you haven’t pre-hydrated. Once your hike has started, plan to guzzle down another 32 ounces for every two miles you hike, give or take. Be sure to take frequent, small sips -- even if you’re not feeling thirsty. And don’t forget about your furry four-legged friend if they’ve tagged along! If you hike with your best furry pal, make sure to bring along a second supply of water and a container for your pup to drink from.
Rule of thumb: if you are only drinking water when you are thirsty -- you’re already behind.
As appealing as a cold beer may sound, save any alcohol consumption (or even soda) until after you’ve finished your hike and have replenished your food and water levels.
To replenish your H2O levels, drink at least eight ounces of water immediately after your hike. Alcohol and sugary sodas can have adverse effects when trying to stay hydrated.
Okay, what about energy drinks?
Many hikers like to rely on energy drinks to help give them that extra boost they need to power through the trail. But the truth is that not all energy drinks are created equal, and depending on which beverage you choose, you could be doing more harm to your body than good.
These days, energy drinks are often loaded with empty calories, additives, artificial ingredients, and an unbelievable amount of sugar. Sure, these popular colorful beverages may provide an initial energy boost, but it won’t take long until you begin to crash and feel even worse than you did pre-energy drink.
But, not all energy drinks are bad.
Take Proper Wild, for example. Our clean, 100% plant-based energy shots are nothing short of amazing. The combo of organic caffeine from green tea and L-theanine will help keep you focused and energized throughout your hike. With no preservatives and zero grams of added sugar, these powerful super-shots will be your best friend on the trail.
A Final Word
When it boils down to keeping your energy levels up, you can look to nature and human ingenuity to keep you going. Whether you want to take your favorite power bar or enjoy a tasty energy shot from Proper Wild, these clean products are designed to keep you healthy and happy while you find yourself in the great outdoors.
Here at Proper Wild, we pride ourselves on crafting the best ingredients into one delicious energy shot that is sure to give you a surge of energy from your fingers to your toes. With 15x more L-theanine than a cup of green tea for focus and productivity without the jitters or notorious crash, it’s easy to see how a Proper Wild Energy Shot is the perfect addition to bring on a hike!